SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•The Young Bucks vs. The Natural Nightmares vs. Best Friends vs. FTR – HIT
Good action with varied styled matches to open up Dynamite. Before the match, Chris Jericho returned to commentary as the fans sang along to his theme song. They showed several fans in attendance fully masked and socially distanced. At times the crowd enhanced segments with their energy and other times they could barely be heard and worked against things knowing there was a partial audience, but they weren’t reacting. The Young Bucks kicked off the gauntlet by defeating The Natural Nightmares. Best Friends came out next and as The Bucks were on the verge of victory, Hangman Page begrudgingly held onto Nick Jackson’s leg to prevent the Meltzer Driver. In the confusion, Trent was able to pin Matt Jackson. It prevented The Bucks from having their first meeting against FTR in a gauntlet match and is a serious turning point in the Hangman Page. FTR had been manipulating Page for months and emphasized to him that he doesn’t want to face The Bucks again because of fear that he could be put back in their shadow. FTR went on to defeat Best Friends, setting themselves up to take on Page and Kenny Omega at All Out. Later in the show The Bucks confronted Hangman and kicked him out of The Elite. The angle elicited a wide range of reaction from fans with the thought that a sad version of Hangman was necessary to the story as well as the possibility that this will damage him long term. The follow-up is going to be key in the success of this angle as Hangman was one of the hottest fan favorites pre-pandemic.
•Darby Allin Promo – HIT
Everything Darby Allin does is so much different from the rest of the roster. This video was promo was another example of that with him nearly killing himself jumping off a very high bridge. This is great stuff from Allin, but he needs to be careful with these stunts.
•Lance Archer vs. Jobber – HIT
As Jake Roberts said, “…Feeding Lance is like feeding a woodchipper.” Jake isn’t wrong as Lance Archer continues to obliterate all of the opponents put in front of him. With the backstage promos and squash matches, Archer feels like he’s gotten back on the right track since losing to Cody. In the post-match, Taz, Cage, and Ricky Starks came to the ring to make a peace offering for the upcoming Casino Battle Royale. Roberts and Archer would have none of it before, Darby Allin skateboarded to the ring to brawl with Ricky Starks.
•Thunder Rosa-Hikaru Shida Video – HIT
With only two hype videos, this match has become one of the most anticipated women’s matches in AEW. Hopefully Thunder Rosa can do more with AEW if there is a sustained partnership with the NWA. Rosa would be a great mainstay addition to the roster and a much needed experienced talent.
•Jon Moxley and MJF Contract Signing – HIT
You can’t beat having the two of the best talkers in the business go at it. You can have qualms about the way they’ve gone about the feud with MJF campaigning like he;s going into an election, but their talents on the microphone have helped them to overcome any of the silliness. MJF threw his typical jabs such as poking fun at Moxley’s hairline and even referencing Moxley’s wife. He accused Moxley of idolizing hardcore wrestlers like Sandman, and John Zandig. While MJF compared himself to the likes of Buddy Rogers. Moxley took the verbal assault, but remained cool and calm by putting MJF and his attorney, Mark, in their place when tensions arose. Moxley signed the contract which bans the Paradigm Shift because he is supremely confident that he can beat MJF otherwise. MJF and Mark broke out in laughter that Moxley was manipulated into agreeing to the ridiculous stipulation only to discover that Moxley had added something. Moxley said that additionally, he will face Mark next week and if he doesn’t show up then MJF doesn’t get his title match. Moxley played into the crowd to close out the segment as a stark reminder of how hot he was as an act prior to the pandemic.
•Lucha Bros & The Butcher, & The Blade vs. Sonny Kiss & Brian Pillman Jr. & Joey Janela, & Griff Garrison – MISS
Some good action throughout leading to Pentagon getting the pinfall. Lucha Bros, The Butcher, The Blade, and Eddie Kingston were on the same page further establishing their new alliance. With Kingston winking during their group hug last week there will continue to be speculation of a turn since it signalled that Kingston may be untrustworthy. My main hope is that this helps to propel the Lucha Bros into a better position. As it stands now, Pentagon and Fenix feel buried far below their perceived ceilings.
•Dark Order Promo – MISS
For every step forward, the Dark Order always seems to take a few steps back. Last week, the Dark Order was presented strongly, being competitive against The Elite and Brodie Lee destroyed Cody to take the TNT Championship. This week, Dark Order are playing up their comedy bits chanting “you deserve it”, surrounding the stage area with lawn mowers, and Lee’s comical degradation of his legion of losers. Instead of a vicious cult leader, Dark Order’s framework is more akin to a bad children’s movie villain. There’s a desperate need for this group to pick a tone and stick with it despite what’s happening on Being The Elite. Lee has shown the drive and effort to recreate himself, but the stench of Dark Order that proceeds him has done him no favors. Anna Jay is another highly touted prospect. Her presentation within Dark Order has stood out as the “Queenslayer”. She has remained relatively unscathed by the shenanigans, but the urgency to keep her strong should be another reason Dark Order should keep the comedy to BTE if not rid of it altogether.
•Big Swole vs. Britt Baker & Reba & Penelope Ford – MISS
Before the match, Britt Baker declared if Big Swole is able to win, she will get any match she wants. Swole went on to defeat the three in quick fashion after she hit Penelope Ford over the head with a crutch. Reba (Rebel) continued to act as though she didn’t know how to wrestle which made for another awkward match. It forwards the feud between Baker and Swole, but didn’t do anything more to excite fans as Baker was still bound by her wheelchair. Baker stated months ago that she would make her return to the ring at All Out. Just a week away and there is still no official match announcement.
•Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara – HIT
At least half of the match took place in picture-in-picture. Also one of Dynamite’s shorter main events that ended in Sammy Guevara superplexing Matt Hardy through a table with a chair setup underneath. Guevara finally captures major singles win after serving a suspension which initially derailed this storyline. It was a satisfying enough victory that AEW can move on or they could rematch it at All Out or elsewhere. Before signing off, Orange Cassidy darted across the stage to attack Chris Jericho on commentary. A quick way to create some chaos to conclude this episode and rejuvenate the audience for their rubber match at All Out.